Sauerland targeting Chris Eubank Jr vs. Billy Joe Saunders fight
By Charles Brun: Promoter Kalle Sauerland is interested in setting up a rematch between his fighter Chris Eubank Jr and Billy Joe Saunders for their next fight. He doesn’t care about the outcome of tonight’s clash been Saunders and Canelo Alvarez.
What could keep the Saunders-Eubank Jr rematch taking place is the likelihood of Billy Joe losing his fight tonight against Canelo. Two are battling at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and Saunders is expected to lose.
If Billy Joe gets beaten tonight, his Matchroom Boxing promoters will surely be looking to strategically move him like a chess piece to put him against a winnable opponent to rebuild his self-confidence.
It’s unlikely Saunders and his dad Tom Saunders would want any part of fighting Eubank Jr if things go badly for them tonight against Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs) in Arlington, Texas.
Given how bad Saunders looked against Eubank Jr in 2014, the worst possible thing he could do would be for him to get back in the ring with him after a loss of any kind against Canelo tonight.
Billy Joe unlikely to fight Eubank Jr
Saunders would need to rebuild his career against another fodder-level opponent like those he’s been facing for most of his career.
Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) defeated Eubank Jr (30-2, 22 KOs) by a 12 round split decision seven years ago in 2014. It was a fight that a green Eubank Jr could have easily won if he had fought with more maturity in the first six rounds of the contest.
“Win or lose, both Canelo and Billy Joe Saunders [on the target list for Eubank Jr],” said Sauerland to Sky Sports on a rematch between Eubank Jr and Saunders. “Billy Joe, there’s a long history there between the pair of them.
“It’s a stadium filler. It’s a massive fight, win or lose, for Billy Joe at the weekend. That’s a huge fight out there, and I’m sure it’s one that will happen. It’s a question, of course, when?” said Sauerland.
It sounds like Sauerland doesn’t realize how invisible Eubank Jr is as far as being a credible opponent for the top guys like Canelo or even Saunders.
Eubank Jr has arguably hurt his own career by failing to fight with Gennadiy Golovkin in 2016. That was a fight that Eubank Jr dragged his feet on, and he wound up losing it to Kell Brook, who snatched it up from under his nose.
Chris Jr has wasted his opportunities
In 2016, Eubank Jr wasted valuable time fighting domestic-level opposition instead of the top-level world-class fighters he needed to face to take his career to the next level. For example, instead of facing GGG, Eubank Jr fought these guys:
- Tom Doran
- Nick Blackwell
- Renold Quinlan
- Arthur Abraham
- Avni Yildirim
- JJ McDonagh
Besides the poor opposition that has crippled Eubank Jr’s career, he also wasted precious time competing in the super middleweight, which was a weight class that he was too small to compete at.
After fighting mediocre opposition initially after moving up to 168, Eubank Jr was badly exposed as being too small for the weight class when he took on George Groves in 2018 and was soundly beaten.
“I think they both seem to have that rapport between them, where they clearly watch what the other is doing, and they get under each other’s skin, and they seem to almost enjoy it, in a certain way,” said Sauerland about Eubank Jr and Saunders.
“The build-up to that fight, to a part two, we all know part one was a great fight.”
Saunders would surely lose to Eubank Jr in a rematch at this point, but the fight has zero chance of happening.
Eubank Jr gave most of the first six rounds by throwing only single shots and freezing to pose for the fans after each throw. It looked like Eubank Jr was trying to copy what his famous father, but he got it wrong. His dad used to do the posing before his fights, not during them.
When Eubank Jr finally did snap out of his game playing, he got the better of Saunders in the last six rounds, appearing to win all of them. He fought well enough to deserve a draw, but the judges gave Saunders a narrow 12 round split decision.
The logical thing to do at the time would have been to make an immediate rematch, but it never happened.
That’s too bad because a second fight would have proved who the better fighter was of the two to clear up the controversy over Saunders’ win.
What Eubank Jr exposed in that fight was that Saunders had serious stamina issues that would have made it difficult for him to win the rematch if he’d been put under pressure the entire fight instead of just the last six.
Saunders will need a confidence booster
Eubank Jr looked very average in his recent 10 round decision win over domestic level fighter Marcus Morrison on May 1st in a Matchroom Boxing card in Manchester, England.
That was the first fight for Eubank Jr in two years since his victory over injured Matt Korobov in December 2019, and he looked like he’d aged badly.
If Saunders loses tonight against Canelo, Matchroom will likely bring him back against one of these fighters:
- Zach Parker
- Fedor Chudinov
- Avni Yildirim
- Anthony Dirrell
- Caleb Truax
- Lennox Allen
- John Ryder
If Eddie Hearn wants to show Saunders tough love, they’ll match him against Carlos Gongora or David Morrell in a sink or swim fight.
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